New York State Police Use-of-Force Targeting of Blacks Exemplified by Schenectady

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A report last week by New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services that encompassed 280 police agencies suggests that Schenectady police use force more often than their counterparts in larger cities and that Black people were the target of half of all use-of-force incidents in the state involving police, reports the Daily Gazette. Statewide, 49 percent of all targets were Black in 6,052 use-of-force incidents during the study period of July 2019 through Oct. 31. The state’s population is 19.4 million, of which 17.6 percent of residents are Black. This is exemplified by Schenectady, where about half of all use-of-force incidents in the city involved Black individuals.

The report also showed that Schenectady police used force 90 times during the study period, which was significantly more than Albany’s 36 incidents and Buffalo’s 52. Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford said he believes departments may have reported to varying standards, and he feels his department might have “over-reported” its use of force during the 15-month study period. In response to numbers showing that officers pointed a firearm at a person 87 times during the study period, Clifford said this is a lower-end use of force that might occur when police receive intelligence that there might be a weapon in the car and that, at times, the subject wasn’t even aware an officer had pointed a gun.

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